U2 singer Bono performs at the Power of Love gala.
(Photo: Denise Tuscello, Getty Images)
Bono says he has no problem stashing a big chunk of U2's millions in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes in Ireland - and he thinks the Irish government doesn't mind, either.
In a wide-ranging Q&A with Britain's Guardian, the Irish rock star had this to say in response to an interviewer's question about avoiding taxation:
"...Was it not hypocrisy for you to try to hold the Irish government to account for its spending while going through fairly exhaustive efforts to avoid paying into the Irish exchequer yourself?
"It is not an intellectually rigorous position unless you understand that at the heart of the Irish economy has always been the philosophy of tax competitiveness. Tax competitiveness has taken our country out of poverty. People in the revenue accept that if you engage in that policy then some people are going to go out, and some people are coming in. It has been a successful policy. On the cranky left that is very annoying, I can see that. But tax competitiveness is why Ireland has stayed afloat. ... So U2 is in total harmony with our government's philosophy."
In the wake of the interview, some Irish politicians are -- gasp! -- questioning U2's loyalty to their homeland.
"I think there is that issue about loyalty to the country you are born in and I think it would show a tremendous example to everybody if they were to bring back their tax affairs to Ireland," former Junior Health Minister Roisin Shorthall told the Irish Examiner, adding, "In any modern democracy people pay their fair share of tax."
U2 is certainly not hurting for money. Since 1980, the band has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, and its 360 world tour from 2009-2011 was the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, pulling in more than $700 million.
The Irish Examiner says the band has an accumulated net worth of about 805 million euros -- roughly $1.1 billion.